Dec. 23, 2002
Friday's one-point win over Maryland-Baltimore County marked the 200th broadcast in my Santa Clara career and while the end was thrilling, it didn't rate among my personal favorites. However, in hearing how assistant Steve Seandel in the post game say that the team used number 200 as motivation during the stressful moments, I was deeply touched. Not surprisingly, Seandel delivered his sarcasm with straight face, making me the first to laugh.
The other 199 games have provided me with most of my career highlights. The following are some of the gifts the program has given me. While not all of the radio highlights are wins, its been an honor to be a small part of some memorable moments both on and off the air at Santa Clara. They are presents that were gift-wrapped in sweat, toil and honor.
March 15, 1996: Broncos over Maryland in NCAA Tournament. Davey countered Maryland's suffocating press by having Steve Nash take the second pass instead of the first. Nash finished with 28 points and 12 assists as the 12th seed upset number 7. Michael Wilbon from the Washington Post was sitting to my right and said, "That's the best point guard I've seen this year and I've watched Iverson play 20 times in person." That was my first season and I didn't appreciate fully how special it is to make "The Dance" and burn to get another chance.
November 29, 1996: Comeback win over Marquette. It was seeing the making of a star when Brian Jones lit the fuse to the 2nd half rally for a 79-72 win. SCU trailed by 19 points with 12 minutes left before BJ put the team on his shoulders and scored 20 of his freshmen record 34 points. Also, before the game, I had a chance to spend a few minutes with the late Al McGuire. Magic.
March 1, 1998: The best game I've ever seen in person. Santa Clara and USF slugged away in the WCC semi that became an instant classic. The box score had identical numbers for both teams with the exception of two free throws by USF guard Jamal Cobbs in the final seconds. B.J.'s left wing jumper was right on line to force OT, but bounced twice on the rim before crawling off. In the Mercury News, Ron Bergman described the game as one that "nearly blew the Teflon roof off Toso Pavilion". It was the final game for Lloyd Pierce, who gutted his way though the night on one foot. Fans may not remember how good that team was. They started off 14-3 before Pierce was hurt. The three losses were to Kansas, Stanford and Hawaii.
March 5, 2001: Santa Clara lost to Gonzaga in the WCC title game. Team manager D.J. Frandsen refused to wash a towel he felt was a good luck charm over the final two weeks of the season and the magic ran out on Monday night. SCU trailed by 8 with :90 seconds left and still had a chance to tie. Jamie Holmes is still bummed out about missing the three-pointer at the buzzer. My biggest regret is that Brian Jones didn't get the chance to take the last shot. After his career, he deserved the opportunity. Miss or make, it would have been right for him to take it.
March, 5, 2000: The final game played at Toso in a semi final loss to Pepperdine 58-55. The Waves wouldn't let Jones get the ball and Brian Vaka missed a three at the buzzer that would have forced overtime. It was also the last game for Nathan Fast and Todd Wuschnig, two guys on the top of my list. They were redshirts when I started and I wanted them to experience the NCAA's on the court just once in their careers. Darrell Teat was certain they would win and planned his academics around the post season. Another one of the great guys in the program who would seek out my kids and make them a part of the team.
While blessed to see some of the great venues in the country, it's the relationships with quality people over 7-plus years is the greatest gift of all. I've experienced what its like to be in the "Santa Clara family".